Interview with Congressman Barry Loudermilk on WBHF

Had a chance to welcome Congressman Barry Loudermilk to the studios of WBHF in Cartersville to be on my Saturday morning show, #WakingUpWithAlan. We spent nearly 30 minutes discussing the happenings in congress, the ongoing work to repeal Obamacare and how it’s not going to be easy when its tentacles have spread into so many areas. We also discussed Leftists who will not tolerate any differing point of view and are now willing to limit the First Amendment. We talked about Berkeley and other campuses with snowflakes unwilling to tolerate anything with which they do not agree. Barry Loudermilk represents Georgia’s 11th Congressional District in NW Georgia.

Alan Sanders interviews Congressman Barry Loudermilk

As part of my radio duties, I have had the honor and privilege of cultivating relationships with many leaders in my community, including several elected members of the Georgia State House and Senate as well as our District 11 U.S. Representative Barry Loudermilk from the state of Georgia. With the start of the 115th Congress, I will be interviewing Congressman Loudermilk every three weeks and will be sure to post his words on the Freedom Cocktail Facebook page, Twitter account and website. Hopefully this will give you an insight to how hard this Congress is working to undo the harm implemented by President Obama’s administration.

In the opening interview, we spent a great deal of time discussing the steps the Congress is taking in repealing the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. I think it’s important to note that the pieces of the ACA that work and are wanted by the American people will be incorporated in a new solution. Their first concern is to create more flexibility and freedom and to push healthcare back to being a state’s rights issue and not a bloated bureaucracy existing at the federal level.

ICYMI: Why we looked back while keeping eye on midterms

The holidays have come and gone. College football has a new BCS champion. The NFL wildcard games lived up to their name and the Superbowl is just around the corner. 2014 is underway and this will be a huge year in terms of politics in our nation with the midterms elections set for November.

Many are getting back into the swing of their day-to-day routine now that kids are back in school. To start off this year, it seemed appropriate to remind everyone of the four recent end-of-year posts that were published here on Freedom Cocktail. In many ways, they not only marked the end of 2013, they all worked together as four chapters of a single work to shed differing points of light on the coming year.


Eric Wojciechowski

The first asked, “Why another blog?”  Eric Wojciechowski’s, Scattered Tea Leaves, addresses the topic of why it’s important to keep the conversation going, even if it feels like we are sometimes preaching to the choir. He offers suggestions of more cooperation and a focus on the bigger picture. He spends some time asking if it makes sense to add a new voice to those already in place and closes by coming to the conclusion that if it means we can get back to a Constitutional Republic, then the answer is yes! At heart, Eric is a staunch Libertarian, but even he is keeping his options open if the right candidate rises to the top of the GOP.


Jeff Rhodes

The second asked, “Why fight?” In Jeff Rhodes post entitled, Looking Back on 2013, he catalogs some of the political mile markers of 2013, from the re-election of President Obama to the Democrats continuing hold of the Senate, and suggests that, as conservatives, it wasn’t a banner year for any appreciable offense and the losses outweighed what few wins there were. But, in the face of the odds, looking at the ongoing debacle that is the Affordable Care Act, aka, Obamacare, it’s not a time to give up — rather, in 2014, it’s more important than ever to fight for the Constitution.


Alan J. Sanders

The third asked, “Why forget?” Yours truly looked at the events of 2013 through the prism of the concept of time with a post called, Exit…Father Time, Even. We all like to think that time is constant — seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, etc. — but, it is a fluid and malleable phenomenon that can dull our memories and lessen our emotions. With the 2014 midterms 11 months away, it’s more important than ever for conservatives to remember, pay attention and vote. The way we fight, the way we don’t forget, is to keep the conversation going (blogging, social media) and get to the polls. It’s time our politicians realize they can no longer hide behind the forgiving aspects of the passage of time itself.


Michelle Ray

And our final post asked, “Why believe the mainstream media?” when Michelle Ray wrote, Selling the News. 2013 was a banner year for the mainstream (traditional) media to craft the news and sell it to the low-information crowd in easily digested, bite-sized chunks. The majority of voters will not read a full news story anymore, settling for crafted headline and sound bites shared/regurgitated on television, cable news and via social media channels. The mainstream is on a mission to convince us that fact is fiction. We cannot let them control the narrative, which means getting out, being active and not running away from the conversations necessary to bring the facts to life. Appeal, but don’t appease. Be above factual reproach. Fact isn’t fiction, but suspicion is the new (media) religion.

As we move through the coming weeks and months, we will continue to publish works along many different topics, but all with the same underlying goal:  To convince more Americans that individual freedom and liberty are cornerstones to be demanded, not surrendered, and a less intrusive and smaller government must be the ends to our means. You can all be a part of this effort by linking to or sharing our work, in emails, in posts of your own and throughout the entire spectrum of social media options.


If you have a love for the Constitution and for our Republic, stay informed and please don’t forget to research the candidates vying for your vote and make an intelligent choice based on facts and principle, not hype and a desire to look hip.

Our country deserves so much better.

Looking back on 2013

As we look back on 2013, and ahead to what’s to come, we tend to take stock – an inventory, if you will, of what we have learned, experienced, and overcome.  It is a time to evaluate one’s self.  We look in literal and figurative mirrors and write ourselves a critical year’s end report.   As political commentators, we may also take the occasion of the changing of the calendar to look back on the political happenings throughout the past year.  This look-back is usually done, not to rehash old debates, but to tally up the wins, losses and draws and to see where the debate needs to go in the future.  We can, then, remind ourselves that this game doesn’t have a time clock – it doesn’t end.  It’s a perpetual game that continues as long as we’re willing to play.  And play we shall.

Politically, 2013 can seem like a loss.  The year saw a communist ideologue RE-INAGURATED, despite a lackluster first term.   It saw a Congress re-seated still partially officially controlled by the left.  As the year progressed, we realized that the true fiscal conservatives in Congress were fewer in number than even party affiliation would suggest.  Really, BOTH houses of Congress are controlled by the left, the left drives the political conversation, and the right hasn’t seemed able to mount much of a defense and virtually no offense.

The story of the year is the Obamacare debacle.  All along, it’s been said that this program was unworkable.  But even its vocal opponents didn’t expect the colossal and immediate failure that the Obamacare rollout experienced.  And it’s not the website, which is a visible, but minor failure.  The real problem, as anyone with ANY knowledge of the insurance industry, or the private sector, in general , has argued, is the fact that “universal” healthcare coverage can only be achieved through rationing of care and MASSIVE cost to everyone.  The idea that you can eliminate underwriting AND lower costs is ludicrous, and always has been.  My personal experience has seen my family’s premiums TRIPLE, for no appreciable change in coverage (of any value to me), and a large increase in out of pocket deductible.

Obamacare is actually called “The Affordable Care Act,” which is really its only accomplishment – just a name that sounds good in ten second sound bites and on the headlines of unread articles.  At the time of the passage of the ACA, the left fully controlled the federal government.  Their key objective with that control was to pass a healthcare reform act.

1) They didn’t care what was actually in the act so long as it could be called “universal healthcare.”

2) They had to take the rare opportunity of tri-lateral control to set the stage for permanent dependence on government (a leftist government) for a huge majority of the American population.

And they were wildly successful.  Up until very recently, the Obama Administration proudly embraced the “Obamacare” moniker and the media dutifully referred to the ACA as Obama’s signature healthcare reform law.  Now that the bloom is off the rose, the administration and the media have quietly gone back to references to the Affordable Care Act, or simply ACA, or Healthcare Reform and are no longer tying Obama’s name to the negative press.

Obamacare has already caused the private sector insurers to change their products and pricing to deal with the restrictions on underwriting in the law’s regulations.  The left is now pushing with great effort for people to sign up – especially those that have been previously uninsured and those who can be subsidized.  We can never undo that.   Just like even the slightest hint of a reduction of the rate of growth of Medicare is demonized as throwing Granny over the cliff, once health insurance becomes a government provided service, the private sector solutions go away – and you’re a slave to the continued blessing of the federal cornucopia.

It’s tempting to throw up one’s hands and say that the fight is lost.  It’s tempting to say that Americans have become apathetic, ignorant, and dependent.  But, just as it is important to look positively at the prospect of better things for your own personal life in the new year, it is also important to adopt a positive outlook for the direction of the country.

1) People seem to be wise to the Obamacare façade.  Most rational people – and more than did a year ago – seem to realize that the Obamacare program is unworkable.

2) There is conflict within the Republican Party, which is needed and necessary.  During the Bush years, the left pushed the “moderates” out of the Democratic Party and coalesced around a much more pure progressive agenda that we saw during the Clinton presidency.  We are now seeing a similar conflict within the Republican Party that, hopefully, will result and a much stronger party and a much more fiscally conservative platform.

3) This is still America.  This is still the land of opportunity and, much more than we sometimes realize, it is still a population of motivated and industrious individuals.

Who knows exactly what the politics of 2014 may hold for us.  But be confident and encouraged.  We can – will – continue the fight.

ObamaCare: Gives You The Right To Mandatory HealthCare

“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” – George Washington

This morning I woke up to a beautiful wife, a warm shower and a screaming baby. And you know why? – Because of my own choices. I strapped my son into the backseat of my white Ford Controur and took him to a daycare that costs me $700 a month. And you know why? – Because of my own choices. Ben, my neighbor, got up the other day and tried to buy health insurance. He couldn’t submit his application though. And you know why? – Because of Obama’s own choices.

With these new healthcare exchanges having finally set sail, my fellow Americans have been run down, denied and revoked in a myriad of repudiated outcomes. My mother is employed part time for Hallmark and was told she can no longer work above 30 hours per week because her employer is now forced to provide healthcare for all “fulltime” employees.

Obama_Talks_longThe obvious albeit delayed notion that the inherit flaws perpetuated by the current administration for three years have been completely disavowed. When inquiries were launched in light of targeted IRS attacks, the president claimed he knew nothing. When the smoke settled in Benghazi and millions asked for a presidential account, there was “no knowledge of a threat.” When millions (yes, millions) of Americans lost their healthcare plan that they chose, the president apologized because he noted that he was “sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me. Obviously,” he said in an interview, “we didn’t do a good enough job.”

Insurance companies may one day fall prey to the persistently alluring blade of governmental takeover. With insurance companies now forced to provide certain benefits in their healthcare plans that they no longer have the freedom to control, many individuals are switching to what I like to call, “The Private Patient Trial Plan.” Basically, you are without insurance, but are desperately trying to acquire it through the 600 million dollar healthcare website that won’t load your application.

Is your moral clock starting to tick yet? More deluded and deceitful than the disastrous healthcare plan itself, we’ve learned that the white house administration knew prior to this “new revelation” that Americans would lose their healthcare plans. Time and time again, the American people have watched and waited for explanations to our coming crisis. It seems that our current president doesn’t understand the concept of honesty. I watched a video recently about Kathleen Sebelius in which Senator Jon Cornyn from Texas was quizzing her on several statistics centered on healthcare projections. After several seemingly unanswered questions, the senator commented that, “The only thing I can conclude is it’s impossible to do something in this Administration that gets you fired. It’s impossible. You can lie to the American people, you can consistently misrepresent the facts but it’s impossible to get fired.” *


If the president had a valid excuse for eliminating any chance at grandfathered healthcare plans, the level of deceit may not have been as high, but the disparaging and utterly vicious disregard for American freedom has all but exasperated a majority of the US. Millions of Americans fought vicariously through pregnant women for the right to “freedom of choice.” The only difference is that this issue isn’t a matter of life and death – oh, that’s right, it’s healthcare. Remember that the government didn’t offer pregnant women multiple options for what to do with their baby (and they had to choose one of those options). No, women were given the so-called right to take their child’s life. Yet, today we are witnessing a multitude of liberal voters who support this kind of legislature.

Instead, they choose to support a president who has been notorious for “I didn’t know” statements. On November 14th, Obama told reporters that, ““I was not informed directly that the website would not be working, as the way it was supposed to, had I been informed I wouldn’t be going out saying, ‘boy, this is going to be great.’” I wonder what my boss would say to me if I delivered a similar “apology” after a disgruntled customer complained about a product I had designed. **

We heard the president tell us that we would be able to keep our healthcare plans if we decided not to partake in the new healthcare plans. This was a very clear statement, especially since it was spoken over 20 times to the American people. See the following for an annoying reminder here. The problem with this idea lies in the technical details surrounding the true nature of “keeping” your current provider and plan. In the Affordable Care Act, the grandfather status may be retained assuming no changes are made to the plan. The legislation is flawed because ObamaCare prohibits certain types of “inefficiencies” in healthcare plans. Thus, those who currently pay for a cheap and skimpy healthcare plan will never be able to “keep their plan if they like it.” It’s just like many other government mandated decrees in which the American people are forced to comply without proper input – since the government knows best for you, you should not be able to make certain choices voluntarily.***

And now, after a monstrous backlash from the public about broken promises, the president chose to cancel all healthcare plan cancellations for one year without asking Congress. You have witnessed an unconstitutional and unilateral act by your president; that should bother you. Perhaps you don’t recall the first unilateral recall. After the law was passed, the president decided to offer companies with 50+ employees a one year furlough from the law. I’m assuming this is his way of prolonging the fall before the sudden stop at the bottom.

Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps you have seen your country fall short of upheld liberties and that has affected you. You might be feeling deep hard-set emotions in your stomach. That unsettling thrush of passion might just be your sense of freedom jutting through you from within. It’s like a powerful ocean wave that crashes against you when you feel your nation has been threatened. That’s your patriotism speaking – so don’t keep it bundled up inside. Claim your pride for your country and be a voice for freedom.

“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.” – George Washington






When did we allow His Excellency to change us into an autocracy?

I spent a good portion of Thursday away from my computer. Car troubles can do that to a person’s free time. As the early afternoon gave way to the end of the school day, I suddenly got a text message from my writing partner here at Freedom Cocktail asking where I’ve been all day?

He didn’t mean in the physical world. Like me, he could not care less where my actual body was located. After all, he is in Detroit (Oh, bless his heart — if you are from the South, you understand the meaning) and I’m in Atlanta (well, just North of it).

He wanted to know how I could have been so silent in the world of social media? Not one Facebook update. Not one tweet. All while the social media verse was exploding with responses to the President’s latest attempt to apply a tourniquet to the severed artery known as Obamacare (for those featured on late night television, the Affordable Care Act, which is the same thing).

health-overhaul-obamajpeg-0954b_s640x427Even though I didn’t have the time to post anything until I was parked in the line of vehicles at car-rider pickup, I had been able to listen to the presser. I heard the President take to the lectern and vie for sympathy by opening his press conference with words about the devastation in the Philippines. It appeared he was trying to create a foil to play against the real reason he had called members of the press to the White House. It’s as if he was trying to convey, in the least condescending way possible, that in the grand scheme of the universe, the pain, suffering and frustration felt by Americans affected by the “unintended” consequences of the Affordable Care Act was really insignificant when compared to the real tragedy unfolding halfway around the world. I could almost hear the words, “My subjects, I know how difficult you think things are but let me assure you, the real difficulty goes to the people of the Philippines. But, because I know you are more worried about your own lives than those affected by the typhoon, I am going to try to do something for you.”

I am referring to his decision to ask insurance companies to let folks keep their current plans — well, at least for a year. On the surface, it sounded like an acceptable solution, if only temporary, for the millions losing their current coverage.

What I noticed immediately was the unilateral edict being given to insurers to basically ignore the law. President Barack Obama’s announcement amounted to a grant to insurance companies to keep offering plans that would otherwise be canceled due to the mandates of the Affordable Care Act. Said another way, he was telling the insurance companies that it was okay to ignore, for a year, the regulations that had been enacted by the law. He even intimated that the extension might last longer if problems still persisted. At the same time, Obama made it very clear that he would continue to fight ongoing attempts to nix the entire program, saying, “I will not accept proposals that are just another brazen attempt to undermine or repeal the overall law and drag us back into a broken system.”

An ironic choice of words, considering the solution he was offering. Remember when others tried to make the case that it was Obamacare that would end up broken?

Let’s look back just a few weeks ago when Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, who were being ostracized by a majority of Congress, were fighting with all their might to either defund or delay the Affordable Care Act. Ted Cruz mounted an epic 21+ hour floor speech, detailing all of the damage he believed would come to pass if the law were to go into full effect on October 1. He talked about the millions who would lose their coverage and the spike in premiums that millions more would soon face. Congressman on both the left and the right (let’s call them the entrenched establishment) derided their efforts as meaningless and dangerous. Senator John McCain even went so far as to call Ted Cruz a “wacko bird” for his attempts to draw attention to the perils of Obamacare.


In a blog released at the time, I satirized the Affordable Care Act and then dovetailed it into an explanation for why Ted Cruz chose to carry out his pseudo-filibuster. It wasn’t about winning at that point in time — it was about giving Americans the time necessary to start to question the efficacy of the Act itself. For 21 hours, most of the media outlets from around the world were reporting on his efforts, and though many took on a disparaging tone, the old saying goes that no press is bad press.

The Affordable Care Act, let’s remember, was passed at the 11th hour on Christmas Eve in 2009, using a parliamentary trick called reconciliation. Not one single Republican in either the House or Senate voted for the legislation. In poll after poll since it’s passage, the law has never received a majority of support from the American people. But, the trumpeters of its merits, from the President, to Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, to former Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, all vowed that the law would lower premiums for everyone and for those who were happy with their coverage, it would not affect them at all.

Fellow democrats happily picked up this mantra and regurgitated it over and over in one stump speech after another. It was the old saying that if you repeat a lie long enough, and if it was big enough, people would believe it. In fact, Human Events just published a list of every Democrat who heralded the same or similar talking points without ever, so it seems, reading the law for themselves. And now they are running for political cover while trying to “walk back” their previous rock-solid positions.

And when Senator Ted Cruz’s time was up, many of the politicians who ran on the promise to “do whatever it took to repeal Obamacare,” played a parliamentary game themselves called cloture. In so doing, these establishment Republicans could literally say to their constituents that they had voted against the funding of Obamacare, when, in point of fact, by voting for cloture, they knew their vote to defund would be meaningless.

As my partner at Freedom Cocktail has written about extensively of late, the GOP is rife with politicians who are willing to say anything to make you believe they are conservative, but will actually do whatever it takes to retain their elected office, regardless of their campaign promises. Here we are, just over a month since the stand made by Senator Cruz, and now the same Congressmen who derided his efforts are calling for the very repeal they disparaged. Even John McCain ran to the first available microphone after the President’s press conference to  declare that Congress needed to do whatever they could to repeal this disastrous law.

mccain-wacko-birdTo the honorable senator from the great state of Arizona, and to the others who are jumping on the politically expedient bandwagon, where were you when you voted for cloture instead of against it? Where was your righteous indignation and intestinal fortitude when the odds were not in your favor? Where was the vim and vigor of the consummate warrior, fighting for the ideals of liberty and freedom, when the polls didn’t seem to be on your side? You are all a disgrace and should be ashamed to now pretend to hold the very flag of liberty that you were afraid to touch just a month prior.

But, before I forget my place, there is more to this story than just the machinations of the establishment, doing and saying whatever is necessary to curry the favor of their constituents when reelection draws nigh. Let’s get back to the President himself — the man who swore to the American public that if they liked their insurance, they could keep it, period.

Remember this talking point, uttered non-stop during the government shut down: it’s the law of the land? Every member of the Democrat party that could grab a sound bite made sure to vomit this very line over and over again incessantly to a mainstream media, who were all too ready to play those clips non-stop to their audience. Now, a scant 30 days later, the President of the United States has taken it upon himself to tell the underwriters of every health insurance company that he will allow them to break that very law for at least a year. Maybe more.

Let me repeat that in case you missed this little nugget of autocratic rule.

Our President, the man who swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, is saying that he will allow a sub-set of the American population to ignore the very law he championed because it would help his poll numbers and the reelection chances of 13 Democrat Senators who are terrified they may lose their offices in the 2014 midterm elections. The Chief Executive of the land, whose job it is to execute and follow the laws passed by Congress, is saying he has the power to tell his citizens that they are allowed to break the law because he said it’s okay.

At what point have we abdicated our Republic and chosen the path of a monarch? Where in the Constitution does it allow for the Executive branch to decide which laws it deems acceptable and those it determines can be ignored? What is the point of the legislature if the President can make or repeal laws on a whim? What need is there for a judiciary when one person can decide, on his own, the efficacy of any law duly passed by Congress? Even Howard Dean, former chair of the DNC and former democratic candidate for president asked if Obama had the legal authority to pass the fix he declared in his press conference on Thursday.

This massive piece of legislation is falling apart on its own weight and bringing millions of Americans down with it. The immediate reaction is to jump in and do something to help.

Let me suggest that we step back and recognize that the words of Senator Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are coming to pass. Obamacare is a nightmare and a disaster and we are only just seeing the beginning of the ramifications of this liberal Holy Grail. President Obama has stated repeatedly that he will never repeal the law, even though he seems more than willing to ignore pieces of it as is beneficial to him and his party.

The Affordable Care Act is a terrible law, period (to use the same word uttered by the President when touting the law). It was passed without a single Republican vote. I would heartily suggest that it remain in the sole province of the Democrat party. If the GOP is finally ready to adopt the principles of smaller government, fiscal responsibility and a return to both state’s rights and the rights of the individual, then a good start is to step back and let the Democrats own both the law and it’s outcome.

It’s been said many times before, when your opponent is committing political suicide, get out of the way. Don’t offer to save them. This albatross hangs around the necks of Barack Obama and every single Democrat that voted to pass the law into existence. It is theirs. They own it.

The only involvement that should be allowed by the GOP is in participating for the vote that fully repeals this abomination. Anything else would be folly.

But, if history serves, the Republicans will bend themselves over backward to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, all while bowing to the new autocracy they purport to be against.

I hope I’m wrong.

Taking Out The Trash (Before the Party is Over)

Every great party starts with great guests. Inevitably, if the party goes on too long or happens too often, those guests invite friends. Those friends bring bottles and disposal what-nots. And those friends invite other friends who bring more cans and dishes to wash. And by the end of its life, said party isn’t what it used to be. But come morning’s end, the garbage that needs to be hauled away, damn.

The last we left it, I’m not a Conservative (as thought by today’s meaning). Also, it is better time spent whipping the Republican Party back to its original objective: Promoting smaller government; not back to Reagan, but all the way back to Constitutional limits. And, most importantly, don’t ever, never argue with Democrats or anyone else in the “communitarian” gene pool. You might as well be attending a debate between a pastor and a Imam. At best, hang out, fly on the wall, and listen to their complaints. Then offer the Free Market solution, but only once. Never, ever, never get caught in the back and forth banter I see on social networks.

Quite some time ago, Harry Browne was asked on his radio show if Libertarians should work towards privatizing the Post Office. It was authorized in the Constitution but with the advent of Fed Ex, UPS, etc, the government doesn’t need to be involved in mail delivery any more. Plus, with the Internet, no one writes letters like they used to. Even bills and coupons are being paid and exchanged via the Web. However, as logical as this is, Mr. Browne’s answer was rather well spoken. He said that we were so far from the Constitution that we should at least try to get back to that. Then we could see if chipping away further was a worthy pursuit. I recall that conversation taking place in the late 1990s give or take a few years. And since then, I’d have to say, we’re even further away from the Constitution. Why now we have national health care. Or, I don’t know, maybe we don’t? Something on paper that’s supposed to be health care is out there but no ones really using it. And a government website that, as of this writing, doesn’t work. But whatevs.

It would be nice to say we have the Democrats to thank for the rise in government spending and programs. That way we’d be able to identify the problem. But it’s not reality. The Republican Party is just as much to blame. In fact, it’s an old joke among us Libertarians that the Democrats propose a Bill that costs $4.5 billion but the Republicans fight and it ends up costing only $4 billion and the Republicans say, “See, look at how we’re stopping the growth of government.” Not really. But it makes them feel better.

And it’s a myth, more legend, really, that under Ronald Reagan, spending was curbed. When Reagan took office, the federal budget was only creeping to $700 billion dollars. By the time he left office, it was over $2 trillion. It might be easy to blame the Cold War for the spending but then why didn’t it go down after the Berlin Wall fell? Harry Browne has a wonderful analysis here if you wish to revisit the myth of Reagan.

The fact is, the Republican Party is far beyond its claim of “smaller government”. It’s kind of bi-polar. (We Libertarians have long observed how they campaign like Libertarians but legislate like Democrats). In our last series, we noted that the Grand Old Party suffered from catering to false history. And, it’s paying for it as the recent election shows. In this study, let’s continue to find ways the Republican Party can overcome, be different than the Democrats, and uphold their rhetoric.

1) Start respecting other people’s money:

This year, 2013, marks one-hundred-years of the Income Tax. The Sixteenth Amendment was ratified in 1913 and has been reeking havoc ever since. Combined totals of Federal, State and City Income Tax and you’re take home pay is already in half. On top of that, include sales taxes and all the other ways the government gets your money not-so-discretely and you have to work from January until somewhere around July before you start earning for yourself. Republicans, think of it this way: You’re so pro-family, why not end the Income Tax and other pick pocketing schemes, allowing one parent to remain a full-time homemaker? Right now, families have no choice but for both parents, all adults, to find employment just to keep above water.

In a prior article, we noted several bits of pork the federal government involves itself in. End it and we could have more parents involved in their children’s lives. Less kids raised on the streets. Think about it.

2) Start respecting other people’s personal choices:

End the War on Drugs. Five years after the Sixteenth Amendment, Congress passed the Eighteen Amendment, thus, beginning the war on alcohol. Look how bad that turned out. Corrupt police and judges, gun battles on the streets, making criminals out of otherwise good citizens who enjoyed nothing more than a Tom Collins in the evening. It gave rise to Al Capone and the quality of drink was so poor, people found themselves terribly sick or dead from bathtub gin. Prohibition was such a bad idea that it ended in 1933 and the Eighteenth Amendment was put to scrap. The same should be done for ALL non-violent drug laws.

The War on Drugs has turned otherwise respectable people into criminals. Someone wishing to engage with a little marijuana while watching their favorite television show or composing a song or poetry risks time in jail. Why? Alcohol has shown itself to be a far more dangerous drug yet it remains legal. The War on Drugs has given rise to street gangs, working in an underground economy, giving little incentive to go back to school once they’ve become accustomed to the riches. Why work a minimum wage job for forty-hours a week when you can earn thousands on a Saturday night? Let’s note that while the illegal drug trade is bringing gun battles to the streets over illegal transactions, Miller and Budweiser haven’t lost an employee in their competition for customers. Johnnie Walker hasn’t suffered a gun fight with Jamesons. End the War on Drugs.

Dump the War on Gay Marriage. Get government out of what marriage means. Let individuals decide. There is no more personal of a relationship than two (or more) people choosing how to love one another. Dump the debates in Congress over this issue. Stay out.

Revamp Foreign Policy. We make much marching in other people’s countries, telling them what to do and how to do it. Telling Iran it can’t have nuclear weapons but winking at Israel. We trash China on it’s human rights issues but continue to wage war against casual drug users at home. And then we make war if we don’t likey. I can’t think of any war or “police action” the United States has engaged in since the War of 1812 that really needed to take place. Even the engagement with the Taliban and Al-Qeada after 9/11 could have been less of a cluster fuck. Congress could have enacted the Constitutional Letters of Marque, allowing anyone to go after Osama bin Laden et al. This would have reduced the entire Middle East from hating us, reduced the generation of children who will grow up one or two less parents over “collateral damage”. It also wouldn’t have spiralled into Iraq where, despite President Obama’s pledge to get out of, will never, ever happen. Our embassy over there is bigger than the Vatican. We. Ain’t. Leaving. Revamp Foreign Policy.

3) Start respecting academics and business:

From the Farm Bill to Obamacare (two hot topics as I write this), we are witnessing what happens when government gets into business. Prices go up, choices go down and the only winners are the friends of the politicians. True, the Republican Party has been rather united in standing against Obamacare but, Republicans drink their whiskey while complaining Mr. Smith is enjoying his Vodka. They knock government involvement in health care but have no trouble subsidizing sugar, insuring crops but letting go of some food stamp assistance. Do you see why this is a political disaster? Big business gets a boost but the poor are left to fend for themselves; or, at least, that’s how it looks. If the Republican Party could have just said no in it’s entirety, no government in food, no government in health care, no government in (pick your favorite industry). Allowing government to help some, punish others and forget the rest sets up the game of endless lobbyists for favors.

Imagine if the government ran a supermarket. Imagine the lack of choice. Imagine only one type of ice cream, low-fat and in a government approved cup size. When government regulates industry, that’s how it ends up.

Finally, get government out of academics. A Republican sponsored Bill is asking that the National Science Foundation justify future grants for research by proving that said research will benefit “National Interest”. Yet in so many cases, we really don’t know if the end result will be such a thing. Observing and testing is sometimes just to see what will happen, not knowing the final result up front. The researcher may have an idea but won’t know (can’t prove up front) the outcome until the research is done. As an example, modern chemotherapy has its roots in mustard gas. Mustard gas, a weapon used en masse in World War I for chemical warfare turned out to benefit for a chemical warfare against the Emperor of all Maladies. Get government out of academics. Expect more hurt as government intrudes into the sciences and academy. Republicans: Don’t support these things.

So the Republican Party has a lot of trash to take out. The GOP has hooked into some bad guests and bad policies and is losing for it. This and our last post on it aren’t meant to be exhaustive. There’s a lot of other garbage to remove but, in the interest of keeping this shorter than novel length, we’ll leave it as is. Besides, I’m exhausted. Exhausted talking to Republicans who think they’re Libertarians. Look, implement the suggestions noted above and we’ll call it a good start.

And remember: Don’t argue with Democrats. Save the air for the election night balloon drop when you actually win.

We remind you: healthcare is not a right

With the problems surrounding both the launch of the website and all of the unintended consequences surrounding the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), it is important to remember that healthcare, in and of itself is not a right. Just because we “want” something or feel we are “owed” something, does not make is a “right.”

To delve into this topic, we must understand and agree upon the definition of “rights.” Here, I use it in the same way as did our Founding Fathers and the framers of our Constitution.  The philosopher, John Locke, put forth the concept of natural rights, which states everyone is born with an equality of certain rights, regardless of their nationality.  Since they come from nature or from God, natural rights cannot be justly taken away without consent.

For the sake of this discussion, let us not get bogged down in a theist v. atheist argument.  Even the Founders made sure to side-step this by using the terms of both God and nature (see an excellent article written by Eric Wojciechowski here).  They were very clear:  natural rights are not granted by man or by government, they exist solely by one’s own existence.

The Founders believed that one of the primary roles of government was to protect the natural rights of its citizens, which include those mentioned in the Declaration of Independence:  the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as well as those specifically enumerated in the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights.  They were of one mind in this respect.  Though several of those present at the drafting of our nation’s Constitution believed it unnecessary to add the Bill of Rights (they argued it would be a redundant action given that the Constitution was already crafted with language to protect the natural rights of the people and limit the powers of government), they nonetheless conceded to add the first ten amendments to make the protection of those rights abundantly clear.

We must also bear in mind that our Founding Father’s had lived all their lives under the tyranny of a monarchical system of government, where the power of a king or queen could usurp the right’s of the citizenry without question.  They feared creating any kind of governmental system that could eventually mirror what it was they fought so hard against during the Revolutionary War.  So, even though some felt a “bill of rights” was redundant, there was no argument that those rights existed outside of government and thus were not a gift from government.

Our rights cannot be taken away or infringed upon without our consent, which includes the implicit consent inherent with infringing on the rights of others, or, more easily stated, breaking the law.  Unless an individual’s actions take away or infringe on the rights of someone else, their rights remain intact and cannot be taken away.  Here’s a simple example:

The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the citizens of the United States of America a right to freedom of speech. This means we have the right to speak our minds without fear of government reprisal for having a dissenting opinion over the actions of our elected leadership.  However, that right does not allow an individual to falsely yell, “Fire!” in a crowded theater, thereby creating a panic that risks injury to others.  Creating a stampede falsely not only infringes on the rights of individuals to their happiness, but also a potential infringement to their property as well as lives.

Our individual rights exist only to such extent that they do not deny another individual their rights.  If we can agree upon this concept, we can proceed.  However, if at this point you choose not to accept the premise used by our Founding Fathers and feel, as our current President, Barack Obama, does, that the Constitution is flawed because it is a document of “negative liberties” — in that it tells government what it cannot do instead of what it should do (especially as it relates to redistribution) — then the rest of this reasoned and logical discussion will fall on deaf ears.

Before we continue the subject of healthcare and health insurance (two related, but very different subjects), we must discuss wealth, which is an extension of property.  It is something we own or possess.

Thomas Jefferson was once asked to provide his thoughts on whether the government should take more from those who have and give to those with less.  He writes:

To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.

— letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816.

Individuals own their wealth, regardless of the form it takes.  Money, land, buildings, stocks, investments and more all factor into the personal wealth of a citizen.  As a collective, this block of “wealth” is synonymous with property because it is, in fact, owned.

"homeless - please help" signTo illustrate this concept, let us create an easily identifiable scenario. You and I are walking down the sidewalk when we come upon a destitute individual wearing ragged clothing and holding a cardboard sign that reads: Homeless, please help.  We are both moved by the plight of the individual.  We both feel compelled to help that person. We both agree on the outcome we desire — to provide aid.

If I reach into my wallet and remove a $20 bill, I am voluntarily taking part of my property and giving it to someone else. It is my choice to provide a charitable hand-out. I elect to transfer some of my property to someone else.

pickpocket-crimeHowever, if you put your hand into my wallet and remove that same $20 bill to give to the homeless individual, this is called theft. By choosing to take my property away without my consent, you have infringed on my rights, irrespective of your altruistic intentions.

When I make the choice over what to do with my own property, I have not infringed on the rights of anyone else.  When someone else takes my property, even though it is for the same purpose (to help an individual in desperate circumstances), my rights have been deprived as surely as a thief deprives me of my belongings.

One must understand this basic concept if they are to understand why healthcare and health insurance are not rights, but, indeed, privileges. They will always remain so because to take these services for one’s own means to deprive someone else of their property, which, as we have demonstrated, is an infringement of their rights. It is an affront to the very freedoms we hold dear.

When someone goes to school and spends their wealth on becoming a doctor, they have made a significant investment in their chosen career. They own their degree and certification as well as their knowledge and skill. It is that person’s property, both physical and intellectual.  They may then make the choice to enter into a contract with other individuals who are in need of their services.

If I fall off my porch and break my arm, I lack the knowledge on how to properly set and care for that injury, so I seek the skills of a physician who does. In exchange for his expertise, I agree to part with some of my property.  My property takes the form of currency and his takes the form of both materials and services.

But, that doctor is not the only doctor within my community. His terms and conditions for entering into a contract for services are not the same as someone else in his profession. Some may charge more for their abilities and some may charge less. I have the choice with whom I decide to engage in services.

The same applies for the concept of health insurance.  (I am going to proceed under the auspicious that we all understand that “healthcare” refers to the actual action of receiving care from a member of the health industry, whereas “health insurance” relates solely to purchasing a financial plan to help offset the future cost of healthcare.)  I do not need to own health insurance to get healthcare.  One has nothing to do with the other.

There is no emergency room in this country who will deny anyone healthcare.  In the years of hearing this mantra, that healthcare is a right, not once has anyone found a case where a hospital has pre-screened the financial solvency of a patient before treating them. This is not to say they won’t pursue every avenue available to them for reimbursement of those services, but this is a different subject and irrelevant to our discussion today.  We are not here to discuss the cost of healthcare.

Rights cannot be taken away without our consent.  The Federal government was designed by our Founding Father’s to not only limit the extent of government, but also protect the natural rights inherent to every person.  When someone proffers the argument that healthcare is a right, they are, in essence, saying that their rights supersede yours.  They are wanting you to surrender a portion of your property because they lack their own ability to take care of themselves.

If healthcare (and health insurance) is a “right”, then I have no control over my own property, which, by that very statement, is in direct contradiction to the theory of natural rights as understood by the Framers of our Constitution.  Remember, our individual rights exist only to such extent that they do not deny another individual their rights, which includes the right to our property.

And, more importantly, if we have no control over our property, then where does that infringement stop? Does someone have a right to a seven-course meal every day?  What about the right to have a home? How about a right to a mode of transportation? Occupiers and the D-15 movement feel they have a right to a “living wage” (whatever that is, since one person’s definition of living is rarely the same as another’s). Where do you draw the line between Capitalism and Communism?

More often than not, our society has desperately tried to make the word “want” synonymous with “right” and those two words, as far as the Constitution is concerned, are not even remotely similar and, more importantly, are not exchangeable.  The sooner we can stop those in our society from deluding themselves with misinformation, the sooner we can actually begin to address the true issue — the cost of care.

For now, let us hope we have taken a first step toward helping others understand the fundamental difference between rights and wants and why those two terms can never be allowed to share the same meaning, lest we make an irrevocable leap toward a complete loss of personal liberty.  Our rights are our own and are not conferred on us from any person or government.  Abdicating those rights is tantamount to an endorsement of tyrannical rule, returning us to the very place from which our Founding Father’s fought so hard and sacrificed so much to avoid.

It’s about time

Obama Car CareIt’s about time. There is new legislation going through the halls of Congress to help protect drivers, especially those with pre-existing damage or points on their license, to get the car insurance they deserve. The focus is to provide affordable coverage for more middle income families. The Americans Bravely Requiring Affordable Car and Driver Adjustments By Replacement Act will extend subsidies (tax payer dollars) to those with incomes from 300% up to 400% of the federal poverty level (approximately $46,000 for an individual), making automobile insurance affordable for more low-to-middle income families.

The Americans Bravely Requiring Affordable Car and Driver Adjustments By Replacement Act streamlines automobile insurance programs while providing additional federal reimbursement for people already covered. This act also provides grants (more tax payer dollars) to help states protect drivers from excessive premiums.

This new legislation establishes tax credits for certain small employers to make it more affordable to cover their drivers, which can be combined with additional good-driving rebates through local exchanges that will be setup to help navigate the system.

Thanks to the Americans Bravely Requiring Affordable Car and Driver Adjustments By Replacement Act, most automotive plans must now cover preventive services like oil changes, tire changes, brake replacements and tune-ups at no cost to the consumer. This will help increase access to critical preventative car care in the short term and extend the lives of vehicles in the long run.

As we know, many of our young drivers suffer from unreasonably high insurance rates.  Under the Americans Bravely Requiring Affordable Car and Driver Adjustments By Replacement Act, young adults are able to stay on their parents’ plan until age 26, where they can then get an affordable rate when they go through one of the exchanges.

This act will also keep insurance rates lower by providing automotive insurance to over 30 million residents in the United States who are currently uninsured. By removing the obstacles of cost and eligibility, those individuals will no longer be a burden to highway emergency response operator (“HERO”) units and can find a dedicated garage of their own. If they are already happy with the garage they have, they should be able to keep their garage, so long as that garage is adhering to the requirements in the legislation of not denying anyone repairs for pre-existing damage.

The wonderful part about this bill is it will be revenue-neutral. According to lawmakers, not only will millions of drivers get the insurance they deserve and the services they need, but also will not cost taxpayers a single dime. And, most Americans will see a savings of approximately $2000.

So, who’s first to sign-up for the Americans Bravely Requiring Affordable Car and Driver Adjustments By Replacement Act, affectionately known as ABRACADABRA?  It’s a revenue-neutral bill that will expand coverage, guarantee automotive repair services for both typical services and for pre-existing repairs at a consistent and affordable rate for everyone, and extend coverage rates to younger drivers until the age of 26.  And, let’s not forget, those who are in the low-to-middle class, taxpayer dollars will help to subsidize your monthly premiums. It’s a win-win all the way around — expand coverage of typical services, cover existing damage and include millions of uninsured, all without adding anything to the current deficit.

It’s magical!

Alas, it’s time to peel back the curtain.

The language used in this blog (up until the word Abracadabra) has been mirrored off of the actual documents created to sell the merits of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. These are the same selling points we were told to get support for the bill. These are the same talking-points that are being used today by elected officials in support of the Affordable Care Act. It’s the same magic.

By replacing the concept of health care with automotive care, it becomes difficult to get anyone, save for blind zealots, to believe they can get this kind of coverage and that it would not only be cheaper, but also not cost taxpayers any additional dollars to enact. It also shows how easily the current administration can switch out the the term healthcare for health insurance. Do you submit an insurance claim for new tires, brakes or oil changes? After all, it’s car care, right? Isn’t car care and car insurance the same thing?

It defies logic.

It is without reason.

And yet, even with the resources available to the Federal government, they couldn’t figure out how to build a website that could handle a few million concurrent users who want to investigate their insurance options — an operation no more complex than what users do daily on or Ebay. How many millions of individuals, especially during the holidays, shop online? Hundreds of millions of individual data transactions and database hits take place as pictures and descriptions of products are posted, quantities selected, additional items added to the shopping cart and then using several different payment methods for simultaneous check-outs.

And they don’t crash.

Of course, they are in the private sector. They can’t afford to crash and lose business to a competitor. They don’t have unlimited resources at their disposal.  And, they don’t have a gun aimed at the heads of all potential customers saying they must buy something from them and only from them.

Several may read this and say that it’s too late. To just deal with it. And, we may very well be at that point. But there is a battle taking place in our country. Not necessarily about funding the Affordable Care Act, but to give Americans the time they need to realize they were sold a bill of goods that has failed before it even begins. This is the time where many are seeing, first hand, the incompetence of the government that designed these websites. And those that battle through a system that was obviously never stress-tested, waiting hours for page reloads, are finding themselves sucker-punched with sticker shock once they get their quote.

And the longer this battle plays out, more and more Americans will be afforded the time to ask themselves, if our government can’t even manage to build a version of, how in the world are they going to be able to manage the complexity and nuance of individual health care?

All we keep hearing, though, is, Abracadabra.

For those fighting, it’s all about time.

Green Eggs & Prayer

So we had another Filibuster. Although this one is a little “f”. It didn’t stop a vote. It stalled it. The blabby-blab-blabathon clocked in at over twenty-one hours. Technically, not a big “F” filibuster but…did it work? No. The intention was missed and the Republican Party is being called all sorts of nasty names round the InterWebs. But was it worth it? I’m not rhetorically asking Senator Cruz. Kudos to his effort. One person can make a difference. But I’m pretty sure, unlike Senator Paul’s demand over the Drone issue, Senator Cruz knew this wasn’t going to work. In the end, surely he knew he was engaging in showmanship. But maybe that was the point. Maybe it was to draw attention to the issue, much like the homeless guy, Ricky, does at an intersection I go through daily – doing the robot, circus tricks with his “PLEASE HELP” sign. Maybe Senator Cruz is scoring points with his base for a presidential run. Who knows, but what it did do is show everyone’s cards. It showed who was a Republican willing to appease versus a Republican willing to do something, anything, for smaller government, knowing the next day he’s going to be Twitter fodder. The line got drawn and the McCains lined up to say, “There, there..let’s get along and play scat with our principles” and the Liberty-Minded Republicans who stood with Cruz said, “No, this is worth it”. By watching who declared Cruz’s performance a waste of time and who called in wishing the soles of his shoes stay firm, we were able to identify who was who. The Republican Party shows it’s split ends.

It’s been said you are defined by the company you keep. As well as your actions too, but the company you keep can influence your actions. You could find yourself acting out behaviors you wouldn’t otherwise do if it wasn’t for the group-think. This is the only way I can rationalize a liberty-minded individual turning big government once in office. Either that or power does indeed corrupt absolutely.

Over the past few years, stories of parents letting their children die of rather curable afflictions have become more common than rampaging lunatics swinging AR-15 rifles. Parents who, instead of taking their children to the hospital, take them to a house of worship, or pray over their bodies as they lay in very avoidable pain in the discomfort of their own beds. These parental units are very loving parents, no doubt. They are just stupid. They’ve probably at least heard of medicine yet choose to let their children suffer from disease and virus because they’d rather pray instead of use what proves to work. They do not intend on hurting their children, quite the contrary, they love their children so much they’re hoping God will answer said prayers and cure their light of the world. Yet, when the inevitable fails, they’ll shed a tear but claim it is God’s Will. On occasion, the State will step in and file charges of neglect or indirect murder. Regardless of the outcome, a collective head shake of shame is shared throughout the land and life goes on. Until the next one.

When the government shuts down, I see it as a dead child that didn’t have to be. I see it along similar grounds of knowing what you should do but doing the wrong thing. I see the politicians telling us they love the child so much, they must pass just one more bill – one more prayer. Both halves of the parental unit (Democrats and Republicans) engage in illogical behaviors, hoping and wishing, yet the child dies. That child is the United States Government and the people it hurts. Yet, unlike the ignorant parents who use prayer over their human offspring, we can resurrect the government.

The primary reason for the Shutdown has to do with a dispute over Obamacare. The Republicans want to defund it and the Democrats want to let the Obama Adminstration’s most shining moment wave high. Is this really worth holding so many other government services hostage? Well, only if you like the services you’re getting. But this is how government works. And this is why the politicians practicing this all encompassing, parental form of governing find themselves with their babies on life support.

Everything it controls becomes a political football to be held hostage or taken out behind the shed and shot. Maybe you want Obamacare. And what if it turns out to be awesome despite my own reservations? Well, it’s still a government program. It’s always going to be in danger of modification or defunding or over-complicating the next round of politicians that take over. If, as now, one party or a majority dislike something, they may taketh away or change to their liking. Never yours.

You’ll never get what you want if you continue to ask government to take care of your problems. The problem here was an alleged poor health care system and the government instituted Obamacare as an answer. If you could implement your own government program, your idea may start out as a wonderful solution but when you make it a government program, it’s bound to not be what you thought it would.

Before you can turn your idea into law, you have to gather a group of people who feel the same way about your plan and promote it. But since no one person is exactly alike as the other, you’re bound to make a few compromises to retain your support. Then you’re required to bring it to your Congressmen’s attention and if they wish to work with it, you’re going to end up with even more compromises and changes.

Once in government, your idea will go through various committees and debates. All participants in the plan will modify and change it to suite their needs. Your idea is slowly becoming someone else’s and will no longer represent your intentions.

When and if it gets past this point, you will not be the one to write the law, the politicians will. They will be the same politicians who made the many failed programs you object to now. Then once law, you will not be the one to enforce it, bureaucrats will. They will enforce only the parts they agree with and end up using it to appease their political cohorts.

Of course the new law will have its opponents, so it will end up before the courts which will have their way of interpreting it as well.

By the time your idea ends up running the gamete of government, it will not be what you intended it to be. It will now be another political football for the politicians to use against each other and to satisfy their political supporters. And you’ll look back on all that time you wasted asking government to solve your problem.

I don’t dislike Obamacare because it comes from the Democrats. I dislike Obamacare because it’s another government program. You’re stuck with it. And the above process is how it came to be. Cruz’s stand didn’t have any affect but to bring happy faces to his supporters and draw up lines within the Republican Party (which I consider to be the greater good of it).

So you have a choice. You can either associate yourself with the Free Market, liberty-minded peoples, looking for free and non-coercive ways of solving problems, otherwise known as “What Works”. Or you can associate yourself with hoping and wishing that just this time, this government program will work, that Obamacare is different. Praying that the child lives. Because this time, with government involved in health care, YOUR child is right along with Isaac. And I wonder, will God retract Abraham’s hand a second time?

Incidentally, Senator Rand Paul is a doctor.